Since 2019 the PrEP drug’s manufacturer, Gilead, has been battling patent ownership with the federal government. The patent battle for Truvada and Descovy began in March that year after an activist group claimed the CDC held the patent for Truvada.
The group alleged that PrEP researchers using federal grants were the first to prove that the drug worked for preventing HIV. The activists, referred to as PrEP4AII, then asked Gilead for royalties. They intended to use it to make Truvada and its upgrade, Descovy, available to those who need it but can’t afford it.
In November 2019, the government filed a patent lawsuit against Gilead. By April 2020, the company sued the FG for breach of contract. They claimed that the government secured the patent by breaching five contracts with them.
Since the patent battle for Truvada and Descovy began, the case has been before a U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The government alleged that the Statute of Limitations barred the court from hearing the suit. They claimed six years had elapsed since the time limit expired.
The government also argued that the Court of Federal Claims had no jurisdiction because they had a pending case in another court. Recently, Senior Judge Charles Lettow rejected both arguments, noting that Gilead’s injury happened at the earliest in 2015.
The Judge ruled that the limitation law did not bar Gilead’s action. He added that the action overlapping with a pending patent lawsuit does not affect the breach of contract action. Thus, the U.S. will answer the lawsuit against them from Gilead.
The patent lawsuit remains pending, and there’s no update on it at this time. While the question of who has the patents remains, Truvada and Descovy are still saving lives and preventing HIV contraction in the United States.
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